tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 12, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EDT
again, the economy heads into recession and again the thing that helps end that recession is that yellow line right there which goes up. so here's the mystery. what did all of those republican presidents do to help end the recessions that they faced? what did they all increase as president during those recessions? what do those lines represent? government jobs. government employment grew under all those republican presidents. not only did we not lay off public workers, we hired more of them, a lot more. that helped prevent bad recessions from turning into horrible ones. what's happened to government employment in this recession? it's gone in the exact opposite direction. it has gone down. we've been suffering through recessions, it's been far worse than any recession in modern history. one of the things we know the government can do to keep people in jobs is to give them jobs. that's the one thing we haven't been doing. you know, you've been told the whole problem right now, the big thing holding back this economy recovery is that president obama
just keeps growing the size of government. it's what republicans keep saying, right? that's the problem. the government's giant tentacles rip through this great country of ours and strangle private enterprise. you know that, right? you know it's kind of wrong, right? government spending has gone up under obama. much has been temporary help to the newly unemployed workers and families to afford food, housing, education and health care. but government employment has gone down under obama. and not because he's wanted it to. the entire political and media establishment in this country have had their collective hair on fire over the last three days over six words uttered by president obama at the white house on friday. but it's the 43 words that followed those 6 that are really, really important to the economy right now and have gotten totally lost. >> the private sector is doing fine. where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.
oftentimes cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government. >> as republicans keep pointing out and as obama agreed later in that day, the private sector is not doing fine, but it is adding jobs. you know what's doing terribly, though? you know what's really doing badly? the public sector. and the problem, as president obama is trying to point out before he got eaten up by the news cycle, is that the green line in this graph is going in the wrong direction. instead of doing what we've done successfully as a country in the last three recessions before this one, instead of saving or creating government jobs, as a means of maintaining employment and demand in this country, instead of doing that, we just let those jobs go away. we put more of those people out of work. making the economy worse. leaving more unemployed people to fight for every open job, to sign up for unemployment insurance, to stop spending money in the local communities. right now, the unemployment rate
in this country is at 8.2%. since barack obama was elected, the public sector has lost about 600,000 jobs. if you put those jobs back, if we haven't lost one job, if we stayed neutral at zero, the unemployment rate would be down to 7.8% right now. not great, but better. what if we did more than that? at this point in george w. bush's administration, public sector employment had grown by 3.7%. that would be about 800,000 jobs today. if we had done that to help fight off this recession, if we had followed the bush formula, then we'd have 1.4 million jobs more. and the unemployment rate would have fallen to 7.3%. if everything else had stayed the same. when the government employs somebody, it is a real job. a teacher is employed. a police worker is employed. a park ranger is employed. that person gets a check. they spend that money in their local grocery store or on their kids. they contribute to the economy. and yet these jobs were part of the past three republican
recoveries. now that a democrat is in the white house, well, here's mitt romney -- >> he wants another stimulus. he wants to hire more government workers. he says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. did he not get the message in wisconsin? the american people did. it's time for us to cut back on government and help the american people. >> democrats have wanted to give state and local governments money to hire more teachers and policemen and park rangers. mitt romney is right about that. republicans have blocked them. as you heard mitt romney say, republicans don't believe in hiring more government workers. they don't believe in stimulus. they believe it's time to cut back on government, as he put it. this is a new belief on their part. it's not just this graph that shows republicans usually increase government jobs when they're the ones in power during recession. it's also republican president richard nixon who famously declared that we are all keynesians now. it's ronald reagan implementing stimulative deficit finance tax cuts and increasing government
spending in the 1980s. it's george w. bush passing what was called, literally titled the economic stimulus act of 2008. it's republicans right at the beginning of the obama administration proposing a variety of stimulus measures which had the same basic idea. deficit spending usually on tax cuts to boost the economy. but now, now that president obama is pleading with republicans to act in a way they've acted for decades during the worst recession, or continued downturn since the great depression? they say they don't believe in that stuff anymore, they say it's time to cut government spending. they say the only thing that will get the economy moving again is getting government out of the way. but the thing that's really remarkable here, they don't believe that. one thing you might worry about with a romney administration is that they would come in and slash the budget immediately. slash public employment. slash government spending. it's what they seem to be saying, right? but they're not going to do any of those things. not one. and i don't know that because i have some secret insight into mitt romney. i don't know it because i look
deep into his heart. that he truly, truly believes government spending is necessary during an economic slowdown. i know that because i just listen to what he said when he was asked. when mark halperin of "time" asked mitt romney why he wouldn't cut spending his first year in office 2013, cut government spending by $1 trillion if it's holding the economy back, here's how mitt romney responded. "well because if you take a trillion dollars for instance out of the first year of the federal budget that would shrink gdp over 5% that "is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. so i'm the not going to do that. of course." i'm not going to do that, of course, of course. you couldn't have gotten a better definition of keynesian budgeting from president obama. take money out of the federal budget and in the short term, in the immediate term, take money out of the economy. you reduce demand.
you slow growth. the government should spend and hire during recessions. that's one of the things that helps end them. republicans know that. well, at least they know that when they're the ones in power. joining us now is the host of msnbc's weekend show "up with chris hayes." he's also the author of the new book out tomorrow i believe "twilight of the elites: america after ameritocracy." good to see you. >> always great to see you, ezra. >> what do you attribute, this sort of turnaround, this 180 on keynesian economics and more to the point on government employment? because it is the case republicans in previous years have just been gangbusters on government employment after recessions. it's gone up by much, much more than anything they have led on in last couple of years. >> you know, we had the head of the dnc right now on my show this weekend and i asked him straight up, right, the question i think that is on everyone's mind and is implied by your very deftly done opening monologue which is are the republicans intentionally tanking the economy?
and he didn't answer the question straight up but i think the evidence does mount. i don't even say that to impugn the good faith of the republican party. i can imagine a scenario in which you think that the president is such a disaster for the economy. right? you think he's so bad long term that a short term -- that contributing to the short-term demise of the economy is actually for the greater good of rescuing america from a second term of barack obama. but i think it becomes harder and harder and harder to make the case that that is not what is going on. i mean, clearly is the case that republicans when in office have done all the things you've mentioned. they've increased public sector employment, they've been -- they've been fine with stimulus. george w. bush signed the stimulus act. i think it is the case that there is no political incentive right now for the republican party to boost, to do anything
to alleviate the suffering and misery in the economy now between now and election day. and the one big question in all this, right, is the way the system is designed is a poor economy in the short term should hurt incumbents in congress. i think they think they are somehow immune from the effects of that. i think that's the big open question about whether that's going to continue to hold, but so far it looks like it will. >> i think they're right. my understanding, the evidence on that, it tends to hurt the majority party, and americans see the majority party as the president. i'm interested in what you say. i always take it as this kind of psychologically complex phenomenon, that you see by the way on the left sometimes, too, where people convince themselves very quickly of what it is in their electoral interest to believe. to sort of use a sinclair line, it's hard to get a man to believe when his re-election depends on him not believing. that creates a difficult question with compromise, right? because if they really convince themselves of it too much, whatever mitt romney says there's a chance he could come into office and the tea party folks in congress say, huh-uh, you may know deep down you can't take a trillion dollars out of the budget but you promised cap, cut and balance and we're holding it to you and you're going to tank the economy right now. >> to me this is the core
debate, how much is mitt romney lying? does he actually believe what he's saying? that's the big question in american politics. you can make a case on either side. you're absolutely right. at a certain point, everybody in the vast right wing media machine is saying the same thing. right? which is that government spending during recession can only hurt, creates uncertainty, it hurts small businesses, it's prolonging the recession, et cetera, et cetera. i think it's going to be very hard to do the 180 pivot if he is in fact elected. i think it's an unanswered question which direction he would go in. you and i actually debated this on my show. right? what is in the heart of mitt romney? but i think that right now the coalition has been mobilized so strongly in favor of that that it's going to be very, very, very difficult to walk that back. >> i think it's right that it's difficult to walk it back, but i guess you end up sort of saying, well, a lot of tax cuts, a lot
of this. the thing that worries me about this in the sort of broad way you were putting it in terms of who gets rewarded and punished, what we're learning increasingly is that we have this kind of breakdown of accountability in the american political system where you can have a minority that using obstruction and later on divided government that essentially drives outcomes or at least drives non-outcomes through gridlock. and then instead of getting judged for the consequences the majority gets judged for consequences that aren't of their making. i mean, republicans and democrats agree that barack obama, president obama's preferred economic policy, the american jobs act, has not actually passed congress. and yet this is considered the obama economy and republicans say, you know, every job lost, every job not gained is 100% on his watch despite the fact what he would like is something very, very different than what we have. what we have is a little more similar to the -- >> the boehner economy. >> -- slowing reducing austerity spending that they would prefer. >> yeah. this is something that i think you put your finger on what is the problem.
right, which is that they have normalized obstruction so much it's no longer a story. i, myself, i'm guilty of this. i was just having a conversation today about how much we cover congress or don't cover congress. what ends up happening is you don't cover bills that are in congress or initiatives in congress. you think, that will never get passed. you don't cover a presidential initiatives because you know it won't pass congress. right, the american jobs act. you take the dysfunction as the status quo, as normal. right? and so it is not a news story when republicans in congress do things to make sure that the economy in the short run doesn't recover, even though if you step back for a second and you don't think of that as normal, it's a fairly remarkable fact about the depths of dysfunction and radicalization on the right side of the aisle right now. i think that's really true. they have succeeded in making this assumed by everyone. it has been priced into how we in the media talk about them. and they're getting away with it because of that. >> gridlock is now the baseline. chris hayes, host of msnbc's weekend morning show "up with chris hayes." author of the new book that
comes out tomorrow. i have read this book. it's wonderful. you guys should all buy it. chris, you should be proud of it. >> i appreciate that, ezra. it means a lot. >> chris, thank you for joining me. it is on between the united states government and the government of the state of florida. anything you can sue, i can sue better. and the stakes are really, really high for the rest at country and in fact for small "d" democracy, itself. that story's next. but thanks to the htc one x from at&t, with its built in beats audio, every note sounds amazingly clear. ...making it easy to get lost in the music... and, well... rio vista?!! [ male announcer ] ...lost. introducing the musically enhanced htc one x from at&t. rethink possible. [ male announcer ] they were born to climb...
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i have a job to do to defend the right of legitimate voters. citizens of our state. we've been asking for the department of homeland security's database save for months and they haven't given it to us. >> 12 years ago, the presidential election, a 537 vote margin in florida. thousands of voters had misunderstood their ballots. thousands more were turned away from the polls in error. florida failed one of the foundational rights we have as citizens. the right to vote. so after that embarrassment, you think they'd be pretty careful today. right? yeah. you'd think that. florida's republican governor rick scott announced today that his administration is suing the federal government in hopes of forcing the department of homeland security to help them out with a big election year purge of florida voters.
mr. scott has said the purpose of the purge is to remove noncitizens from florida voter rolls. when scott's administration sent a purge list to county election supervisors, those local officials found it to be riddled with inaccuracies. the "miami herald" reported the list was produced with, quote, some outdated data and that it, quote, targeted hundreds of actual citizens who are lawful voters. late last month, the justice department warned the state to stop the purge. saying it would appear to violate both the voting rights act and the national voter registration act. at which point the county election officials charged by the rick scott administration with carrying out the purge told the state they weren't going to do it anymore. last week on this show, rachel spoke with the republican election supervisor from volusia county, florida, about her decision to halt the voter purge in her county. >> so it looked like the list was bogus, if you will, it was
outdated. of the 15, 10 had never voted in volusia county ever. so i just quietly put the list aside. there's a federal law in the nvra, the national voter registration act, that says in federal elections you cannot change, with few exceptions, you cannot change a person's voter registration history within 90 days of a federal election. so we aren't going to do anything with it, no matter if governor scott says, do this. we just can't do it. it's against the law for me to do that. >> but even after the warning from the justice department, even as local election officials including many from scott's own party refused to carry out this big election year purge, scott's administration has promised to continue the purge.
>> this is not a time to wait until after the elections. it's time to act now to make sure that individuals that are voting are eligible to vote and that voting rules are accurate and clean here in florida. we plan to do that. >> that was florida secretary of state on friday doing the rhetorical equivalent of thumbing his nose at the justice department. today governor scott announcing the lawsuit he hopes will force the federal government to help with the great florida voter purge of 2012. but remember that part where the justice department said the florida voter purge violated federal law? yeah, it turns out they were serious about that. the justice department also announced a lawsuit today saying they plan to sue to stop florida from carrying out the purge warning the state one more time to cut it out. "please immediately cease this unlawful conduct." that's about as stark as it gets. as for florida's -- the justice department says the database wouldn't help anyway and the sloppy error prone surge is sloppy and error prone because it's the way the
administration has carried it out. quote, your claim the department of justice and department of homeland security worked in concert to deny florida access to the save program database is simply wrong. the significant problems you're encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation. the program has critical imperfections which lead to errors that harm and confuse eligible voters. especially the program is based on information collected sometimes years ago from driver's license applications. the information is often going to be outdated as a number of persons will subsequently have become citizens and lawfully registered to vote. your data appeared to be faulty in other ways and resulted in native born citizens including a decorated world war ii combat veteran being sent letters demanding they affirmatively prove their citizenship. we are aware that one county election supervisor who reviewed a state-provided list of over 1,000 potentially ineligible voters determined the list had a significant error rate and
advised further use of the list would potentially disenfranchise eligible voters based on an inaccurate list. so it's not clear at this point whether and how the rick scott administration might continue to carry out their election year voter purge, but it is clear they're determined to try to carry it out, no matter what. and in an election year in the very state that decided the election 12 years ago on a razor thin, error-ridden margin, you might think they'd know better. indeed, the scary thought is they do know better. that's why the deeply unpopular scott administration is trying to kick these voters off the rolls. [ male announcer ] imagine facing the day with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is fda-approved
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on the spectrum of living things who get together and stay together, you know, couples, special friends, at one end is hollywood. life is fast, options are many, and commitments are relatively flimsy. this person of celebrity was married in front of a national tv audience and filed for a divorce 72 days later. on the other end of this spectrum called the kardashian spectrum are giant tortoises. for them, life is slow. even if you want to leave, how fast can you really go anywhere? but it is my sorry duty to report that even giant tortoise relationships can be challenging. bibi and poldi are giant tortoises, a male and female, at the zoo in austria. they have reportedly lived as a couple at that zoo for 36 years. before that, they were together in a zoo in switzerland.
they're 115 years old and they have, according to the head of zoo, been a couple since very early in their lives. until recently. until bibi, the lady tortoise of the two, had awoken to the same tortoise face one too many times. zoo keepers figured out what was up after bibi bit a chunk of poldi's shell off and walked away. ouch. she then expressed a preference, i'm not exactly sure how this happened because they're tortoises, and they don't talk, from her own cage. there's no video of the breakup, as they do not yet have their own reality show, but zoo keepers have been trying to get them back together and failed. quote, we get the feeling they can't stand the sight of each other anymore." after 115 years it turns out they were living separate lives. if two with everything in common and more than 100 years together can't make it work, it does make
you wonder. let's hope for them it's just a spat. the good news, however, is this, producer patricia mckinney of the "rachel maddow show" found the antidote, the question, what's it all about anyway, if it's not about long term monogamy among tortoises? it's the best new thing in the world. whatever melancholy the divorcing tortoises have left you with, don't despair. stay tuned. [ male announcer ] hey, isn't that the girl who tore out your still beating heart? [ bowling pins ] ok, how's this gonna play? mi amore. [ chicken clucking ] [ male announcer ] bit needy, g. ok don't sweat it. just do your thing. hey! hey! [ male announcer ] definitely a little bit epic. stride. starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve,
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the media has come to a sudden agreement that if i did not know how disorganized we all are would almost seem like a conspiracy. they have decided seemingly over the weekend that the 2012 election will not be decided by what president obama does or says between now a november. it won't be decided by what mitt romney does or says between now and november. the deciding factor in this year's presidential election won't be paul ryan and his plan to reform medicare or speaker of the house john boehner or minority leader nancy pelosi. it won't even be eric cantor or harry reid. actually it also won't be, now that i think about it, karl rove and superpacs and their billion dollars. the common wisdom deciding factor will be this woman, angela merkel, german chancellor, of europe's largest
economy, she's tasked with managing its recovery. if she does not effectively manage the situation, the european economy could crash causing the global economy to crash and the american economy to crash. if the american economy crashes so, too, will president obama's re-election chances. you can read this in "newsweek" where neil ferguson wrote about it or in t"the washington post" where dana milbank wrote about it or over the weekend in "politico." where ben white wrote about it or read it on my blog today where i brought together some of the people writing about it. if fact, if you tuned into the "rachel maddow show" eight months ago you could have heard me say it here, too. if europe doesn't get its act together we're likely to have a global recession next year and going to make it very hard for barack obama to get re-elected. good point, past ezra. that's one very important caveat
that handsome fellow didn't emphasize as much as he could have. that is this. europe will decide the american election if and only if we let it. if we fail. if we have done a bad job. by we i mean economic policymakers of which i'm actually not one. what an economic policymaker does for a living is make sure when something bad happens on the other side of the world it doesn't crash our economy. that is their whole job. we don't need economic policymakers when things are going great. you need them when things are not going great. right now there are things we can do. europe is a bump in the road. a big bump. a mountain in the road. but it is a bump. policymakers have shock absorbers. in congress they can pass targeted tax cuts, hire more teachers and firefighters and police officers. if they don't want to do that, everyone agrees we have crumbling roads and bridges in this country, water systems are out of date, subway systems are in need of repair. we can employ people from the very badly hurt construction sector getting all that back up to speed. actually we could also buy up mortgage bonds to help the housing market.
if you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. there are men and women at the federal reserve who do because it is their job to know what that means and do it when necessary. that is why we pay them. remember friday's presidential press conference, the one where president obama said the private sector is fine and caused everyone in washington's head to explode all at once? this is what that press conference was actually about. trying to get congress to do what was needed to make sure the private and public sectors would be fine in the event of a meltdown in europe. >> given the signs of weakness in the world economy, not just in europe but also some softening in asia, it's critical that we take the actions we can to strengthen the american economy right now. one of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments which have laid off 450,000 americans. these are teachers and cops and firefighters. congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now. giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not
occurring. we have a lot of deferred maintenance in this country. we could be putting a lot of people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, some of our schools. there's work to be done. there are workers to do it. >> you know, it actually -- it gets even better than that. you want to hear the craziest thing about all this, the single weirdest thing about america's economic situation right now? the markets are so afraid, they are so terrified that at this moment they will pay us to take their money and keep it safe. literally. you see this web page? that's a treasury department's list of real interest rates. it's how much the government has to pay to borrow. and you see all those little negative signs? that means after you account for inflation, the markets are paying us to take their money. we would make a small profit just by borrowing and holding the market's cash, make a big profit by buying and investing in worthwhile things like roads. it is a huge economic opportunity for us, one of relatively few in a bad economy. we're wasting it.
why are we wasting it? republicans don't want to do any more stimulus. filibustered the americans jobs act which would have a large payroll tax cut for businesses. house republicans also oppose the bill. neither group proposed a significant alternative. many economists believe the federal reserve could do more to support the recovery. so far it's holding back. one reason many of them think is congressional republicans are telling the federal reserve clearly and in no uncertain terms, hold back. last week, federal reserve chairman ben bernanke testified before the joint economic committee where representative kevin brady the committee's top republican told him to reign it in. >> i wish you would take a third round of quantitative easing off the table and look the market in the eye and say the fed has done all it can, perhaps too much. >> kevin brady wishes ben bernanke would go to the market when europe might be about to disintegrate and say we've done
too much, we'll do no more. so it's true, if congress isn't going to do anything to protect the u.s. economy, and the federal reserve isn't going to do any more to protect the u.s. economy, then, yes, we're at the mercy of what happens in europe and in china and other parts of the world. that is because we have chosen to be at their mercy. we are not helpless. we're just acting like we are. joining us now is jared bernstein, former economic adviser to vice president joe biden, senior fellow at the center for budget priorities and msnbc contributor. great to see you again. >> great to it be here. thanks for inviting me. >> there was a bailout of spain. the bailout appeared to calm the markets. we looked into this today. for 4 hours and 40 minutes. >> wow. >> that isn't very long. >> no. at the end of the day, borrowing costs for spain, which actually started out going down during that nice and -- >> when costs are going down, we know these things are working. >> that means if spain needs to borrow to help itself which it does quite deeply, it can do so at a lower cost. after that four-hour respite,
basically folks looked into the deal, didn't like what they saw, thought it didn't go far enough. recognized there are so many different parts. it's a finger in the dike, you fix one, there are a lot of leaks elsewhere. by the end of the day the move was discredited by the markets. >> there's been this kind of fatalism around europe, china, around india. there's a lot of bad economic news coming out of the global picture. when you say over here, well maybe some tax cuts would help or infrastructure investment, it seems disconnected. it seems like it has nothing to do with the actual problems here. so draw out the connection. if there is one. >> in a way it's almost worse than disconnected because i think that the interpretation, from conservatives, backed up by i think some very wrong headed economics, is that kind of austerity works. that instead of doing the kinds of things the president was suggesting in the clip you played, actually more stimulus to help create more jobs, temporarily, as we work our way
through this mess and protect ourselves from all the headwinds coming from europe, the argument is that, no, the opposite is what will help you. if you cut spending, if you rein in budget deficits which has to happen in the long term. in the near term, as you can see, very clearly with europe, it's exactly the wrong medicine. so it's bad enough that we're not doing what we should. we're actually threatening to make things worse. >> but let's say we do do what we should. what you're talking about. say the government borrows it, passes a payroll cut for businesses and invests in infrastructure. what does that have to do with europe? how does that protect us if europe begins to collapse and financial markets begin to tighten, if exports begin it weaken? what does that do for workers here? >> it replaces some of the demand we would lose because of the european recession. we export to europe. banks are intertwined with europe. it's like our own recession. when you have contractions in demand, a fancy way of saying a lot of job losses, you end up having to try to take steps to temporarily erase that.
i was at a party this weekend and talked to a guy who's a small manufacturer and sells large construction equipment to europe. this firm had pretty much hired up after the meltdown. now they're starting to cut back again. all their exports to europe have, canceled. so if we were to say, do more infrastructure here, it would take the place of some of that lost demand. you'd be replacing some of the jobs you're losing because of the european effects. >> as interest rates go back up, we can be paying down our debt. there's nothing economically irrational -- >> the markets are telling us to do exactly that. as you pointed out in your introduction, the cost of borrow, what we need to do to finance this, is so low, the benefits the job growth would certainly outweigh them. >> jared bernstein, former economic adviser to vice president joe biden, senior fellow at the center of budget priorities. thank you very much. >> thank you, ezra. why does it have to be such a downer anyway? end of the planet, light, end of
the planet, happy, courtesy of republican elected officials, next. our cloud is not soft and fluffy. our cloud is made of bedrock. concrete. and steel. our cloud is the smartest brains combating the latest security threats. it spans oceans, stretches continents. and is scalable as far as the mind can see. our cloud is the cloud other clouds look up to. welcome to the uppernet.
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the feline weighs too much. its body mass index is too high. this truly is a fat cat. these, however, are figurative fat cats. members of the american bankers association after their white house meeting during the great depression. these men are fat cats because they have or controlled gobs of money. when they were described in english they were often referenced as a colloquialism as the fat cats on wall street, dot, dot, dot. last year at the height of occupy wall street a wall street fat cat took public exception to the term. now we're not supposed to use it anymore. it's insensitive and wrong and i just said it a half dozen times. whoops. here's something else you're not supposed to say in polite company anymore. sea level rise. you're not supposed to say sea level rise, at least not among virginia republicans. also climate change. you don't want to say climate change anymore. when virginia lawmakers wanted to examine the possibility that warming temperatures will cause
the atlantic ocean to swamp the coastal region of their state, "they discovered they cannot use the phrases sea level rise or climate change in requesting the study in part because of objections from republican colleagues and also for fear of stirring up conservative activists, some of whom believe such terms are liberal code words." oh, liberal code words. instead of left wing terms like sea level rise and climate change you're supposed to say recurrent flooding which is fine for when it rains a lot but which describes a situation a little bit less aptly when you are permanently under water. the first crazy thing about this is climate change, the term climate change, is one that republicans had wanted everyone to use. back in '03, republican messaging guru frank luntz advised the party scary terms like global warming should be replaced with climate change. he said republicans do need to talk about the environment,
though carefully, since so many voters believe that, quote, republicans are in the pockets of corporate fat cats who rub their hands together and chuckle maniacally. back then you could say fat cats. we have a name for this kind of roundabout euphemistically way of talking, politically correct, pc for short. it's supposed to be something wrong with liberals to chill free speech, considered for hyper-appropriate language. conservatives hate it when liberals say happy holidays rather than merry christmas or waitren instead of waiter or waitress. in fact, so do a lot of people. liberal comedian bill maher called his old show "politically incorrect" satirizing a practice he didn't like in his own crowd. political correctness isn't the province of solely the left by any means. on the right, how we're not supposed to call rich people the wealthy anymore. now we're supposed to call them job creators. the point of the piece mr. krugman wrote is to make it
impossible to talk and possibly even think about ideas that challenge the established order. while it's amusing to think about our national progression from fat cats to the wealthy to job creators, we actually have a lot at stake here. the move from global warming to climate change and sea level rise to recurrent flooding matters. commonwealth of virginia spending $6 million a year warding off the atlantic ocean? in the city of norfolk alone. the naval base will need to change its piers at a cost of many, many millions. and virginia is losing the salt marshes at heart of its coastal ecosystem because they're being inundated by the sea. being able to talk about sea levels rising matters. places like coastal north carolina where republicans are insisting the state prepare only for the atlantic to rise 8 inches instead of the 39 inches scientists say the state should now expect. a few years after advising republicans to continue sewing doubt about whether the earth was heating up frank luntz admitted yes in fact the earth is heating up. the question now in places like
virginia and north carolina is whether people elected to serve and protect the state can rally people to solve an urgent problem or if they will choose instead to point out an exciting new challenge. joining us now is rush holt, the democratic congressman from new jersey. he also has a ph.d in physics and has a paper on calcium absorption lines and also one on why we should value science education. congressman holt, thank you very much for stopping by. >> ezra, good to be with you. >> republicans used to support the expansion of greenhouse gases. the idea of cap and trade was a republican idea in the first place. it was in john mccain's 2008 platform and he was also the first to introduce it in the senate. now the favorite term for it in republican circles is cap and tax. when even republican policies become an anathema with conservatives, how do you forge a compromise in congress? >> well, when you change the very language, as you're describing now, it leads to really disinformation and
challenges the whole basis for debate. and clearly that's what they're trying to do. these are powerful interests, energy interests that don't want the facts about climate change to be out there. they don't even want the term climate change to be out there. there's no question the sea level is rising. even if there's no melting of glaciers because of the heating, just the heating of the ocean, which is happening, has happened, will happen, means that in the lifetime of today's kids, it's going to be a foot or two higher. if there's significant melting on land of glaciers and ice caps, it could be much more than that. so, changing the language is just the special interests' way of trying to change the argument and overpower the opposition. it's what happened with tobacco. the tobacco companies tried to change the language about cancer. they set up a tobacco institute
as if it was somehow based in science, and all it was was marketing. you know, four out of five doctors smoke our cigarettes or recommend our cigarettes. you know, crap like that. and it was clearly that kind of disinformation that the tobacco industry used to sew doubt about the science. >> the house where you serve, it recently -- >> and you know, it's -- >> sorry? >> i was just going to say, you know, rachael carson and the pesticide interests and on and on. >> the house recently voted against national science foundation funding for political science. in a vote that kind of disturbed me, it was an amendment from representative jeff blake and it didn't take away the funding, it just said the national science foundation could no longer use its funding to fund political science, in part, representative flake said, because the funding was used to scientific studies
about climate change. that subtle and specific interference with scientific judgments worried me as a precedent. am i right to be concerned, or is this not a big deal? >> you're absolutely right to be concerned. what we were talking about with climate change and with tobacco, and with big developers against the endangered species act and big agra business against nutrition science, that's the old-style, long-lasting confrontation science, trying to overpower their science. what you're talking about a more insidious problem that strikes at the very method of science, and you know, science is really valuable. it is really valuable for moving knowledge toward more factual understanding. and this is not of interest just to people who wear lab coats or technogeeks. anybody who cares about the air their children breathe or the water they drink or the nutrition in our lives or the education of children with
special needs, anybody who would want policy based on as much as possible on fact, on evidence, should care about this. and if you start messing with the pier review process, as has happened with education before congress, if you start messing with what kinds of research the national science foundation can do, what you're referring to and you wrote a very good piece about it, a month or so ago, is if politicians direct the national science foundation about what is the value of the research or what kind of research can be done, it strikes at the very heart of the method that leads us to this better understanding. >> we'll have to the leave it there, but i would like to talk about this another day. rush holt, the democratic congressman from new jersey and physicist and scientist, we're grateful for your time tonight. thank you. the best new thing in the world, special turtle divorce antidote edition is next. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550
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film legend has it in the late 19th century when the film of a train pulling into the station was shown, the image was so real that the unsophisticated audience panicked and ran from the approaching train. maybe that didn't happen, maybe it was just a legend, but once you realized what cameras can do, put them everywhere, like on the moon, or way down deep on the bottom of the ocean, where you can't physically bring your human eyeballs, or on the back of birds in flight, which is simply amazing. i mean, look at that. now the best new thing in the world today. a dad has done something simply but genius that transports people back in time, biological time, toddlerhood. he strapped a camera on his toddler daughter and played hide and seek with her. the result is pure point of view joy.
>> wait. wait. >> daddy! daddy! i see you! i see you! daddy! >> the game goes on for about three awesome minutes, in which we learned that a toddler will always look for you in the last place she found you. and we can imagine what it's like to be a little kid again. i urge you all to watch it, over and over. filmmaker daniel brace's daughter, olivia, best new thing in the world today. thank you, guys. that does it for us. we'll see you again tomorrow night. until then, you can check out my work at wonkblog.com.
now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. what are they going to call the new romney campaign bus? it can't be the straight talk express, because romney tells a few too many, you know, lies for that. and the straight talk express turned out to be an express to nowhere. i've got no suggestions for the romney campaign, but tweet your suggestions to me and we'll read some of the good ones on the show. colorado, florida, iowa, north carolina, new hampshire -- >> 7 or 8% of the electorate that's going to matter in six or seven or eight states. >> nevada, ohio, pennsylvania, and virginia. >> president running with 13 different states in mind. >> and if you don't live there, you don't matter. >> obama fights for the middle class. >> tailoring its message to particular swing state economies. >> president obama announced a new commitment to invest in rural businesses. >> things are improving slightly in ohio. >> florida's coming roaring back. >> clearly, both sides think that they have found a winning strategy. >> maybe sarah palin will